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DfT invests in smart ticketing in the West Midlands

Smart ticketing is coming to the West Midlands as the Department for Transport (DfT) pledges £620,000 for the scheme.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer made the announcement as part of several initiatives unveiled at a meeting with the Smart Cities Partnership.

Centro will receive the £620,000 over the next two years to extend the use of its Swift smartcard to large areas across the rail network in the West Midlands, including the redeveloped Birmingham New Street station from September 2015.

Cllr John McNicholas, chairman of Centro, said: “I am delighted that our smart ticketing programme is to receive such a boost. It means we can start to roll out Swift across the local rail network at a time when train usage is at its highest in nearly a century. The ultimate winner though is the passenger, who will now have a smart ticket they can use across all forms of transport.”

Separately, the minister also announced that the government will be working with the UK Cards Association – the body representing the card payments industry – to bring contactless payment to public transport country-wide.

The association will lead a project to coordinate actions among card payment processors, card issuers as well as UK transport operators.

Baroness Kramer said: “Smart ticketing is revolutionising travel and is an important part of the transport investment which will help to build a stronger economy and fairer society. I am very pleased that it is gaining real momentum.

“Implementing smart tickets involves close working across operators, administrative regions and industries. These three initiatives show how much can be done through partnership working. I wish to thank all parties involved for their commitment and innovation in driving forward these plans to make travel easier and more convenient for the public.”

Melanie Johnson, chair of the UK Card Association, said that the announcement builds on the success of contactless payments in London, which now accounts for one in seven of all contactless transactions in the UK.

“The cards industry is pleased to be working with DfT on this new project which will boost the economy by reducing ticketing costs, delivering efficiency and harnessing the popularity of payment cards,” she continued. “We will be coordinating the collaborative effort on behalf of the card and transit industry including the card schemes, issuers and the payment businesses which enable transactions to take place, as well as transit operators.”

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